On one level a wonderful film – thrills, spills, laughs and tears, magic, betrayal, twists a-plenty, and as a cinematic experience I hugely enjoyed it. But as a Harry Potter film – well, I’m not sure it cuts it….

Warning – this review contains spoilers about the Harry Potter film and books.

The lastest installment of the Harry Potter films is probably the least faithful to the book, and Potter-philes are in danger of finding themselves shouting at the screen things like “You can’t miss that out”, or “So how does Lupin know it’s a map then, Harry?”. Worst crime of all is portraying Sirius as a slightly large collie – this is a “bear like” dog who could take on a warewolf!!
Significant artistic licence has been taken in order to make the film ‘thrilly’ (although to be fair I jumped in my seat more than once!), and several characters still fail to cut the mustard – most noticeably Ron, Snape, and Malfoy. However, I did find Gambon’s Dumbledore absolutely spot on – much closer to the books – and I do like the film’s Harry and Hermoine (although I think Emma Watson in the film is too attractive to entirely realistically portray Hermione – her transformation into beautiful Hermione in Goblet of Fire will not be the jaw-dropping moment it was in the book – Emma is already beautiful.)
Fairly key plot points have been sacrificed to make this film the right length, and my feeling is that several fairly important scenes have been dropped in post-production, leaving a slight incompleteness to the film. I also found the change of director did make a difference to the feel of this film. Hard to put a finger on exactly in what way – the camera and scenes were less focussed somehow.. Harry would be having a conversation in the foreground, and other conversations would be going on in the background that you could still hear. I think the purpose of this was to make it seem like a window into real-life, but for me the effect was to make it look like a highly orchestrated “behind the scenes” documentary – you know when you see all the actors in the background milling around and chilling out.
H’mm – this all sounds a bit more negative then I probably mean. I did enjoy the film, I laughed, I jumped, I sat on the edge of my seat at times. Trouble is this is Harry Potter – and the incredible richness and depth of Jo Rowling’s writing just doesn’t translate to the big screen. To much is compromised in order to meet the demands of the industry, and the whole thing ends up being just unsatisfying. I will certainly watch the next 4 films, and avidly await the next 2 books, but it’s starting to fall into the category of films you just gotta watch (like “Star Wars”), rather than because you necessarily are expecting to enjoy them..